Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz
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Tengger Cavalry - Horseman (song review) |Metal Hell Rec., Blood Sacrifice Shaman, 2015|
While browsing through a long list of metal bands, a listener may find out there are very few internationally recognized China-based groups in the genre. Here however comes an innovative and powerful Chinese quartet presenting traditional Mongolian music mixed with heavy metal guitars. The band members call it ‘Mongolian folk metal’, which is definitely an interesting addition to the already wide spectrum of metal music subgenres. Tengger Cavalry was established in 2010 as a solo project of Mongolian music, film & game music composer Nature Ganganbaigal. He formed the full band with Xin Wang, Kai Ding and Wei Wang later in 2012, and has released four albums in both Europe and United States up to date.
"Horseman" is Tengger Cavalry's newest track and was released on their Blood Sacrifice Shaman
album (released as a limited demo version in 2010). The song title refers to a Mongolian nomadic man, one of those who are historically known for their excellent horse-riding skills (as well as hunting with falcons and eagles, as you might have watched in many movies). Fast horse-riding means an accelerated tempo and therefore, the band showcased that in this track.
The song begins with a surprising intro that would work well for an electronic composition, but leaves no doubt what is to come when it is followed by a straightforward guitar cannonade soon after. The track is entirely instrumental but it could sound mighty with growling vocals as well. The arrangements include the aforementioned traditional Mongolian tunes, skillfully combined with heavy, dirty metal guitars. The composition allows for giving space to both - at first you'll hear the folk vibe, then fast-paced drums, bass and guitars, then finally a complete mixture of them all.
The sound is heavy and vibrating but also soft and dreamy at times. Thus, it is a straight call to action that a bit later invites you to take a break. Listeners may imagine a furry horseman resting in front of a tent, next to a bonfire, eating fried meat and relishing the view of the place he was born in and belongs to - a vast grassland overlooked by the snowy mountains in the distance. Such a landscape may look boring to some foreigners, but it means freedom, survival, and a direct contact with nature for any native. After the rest, you can see him continue his mounted exploration of the land.
Is this kind of music inspiring? Definitely, as much as Norwegian metal drives listeners to dig into the Norse mythology to study about Valhalla, Fenrir or Yggrasil. In fact, Tengger is the name of the sky god of the Mongolian land. Moreover, if you're a fan of metal music looking to branch out, then this track may encourage you to not only start listening to Mongolian and more Asian ethnic music, but also researching and supporting the growing metal music scene over there.
(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Magazine, June 5th, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)
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